Andrew Grimwade is the son of Frederick Sheppard Grimwade, great-grandson of Frederick Sheppard Grimwade (founder of the Grimwade family fortune in Australia), and great-great-grandson of Edward Grimwade of Grimwade & Ridley & Company, London.
As pioneers of the pharmaceutical industry in Victoria, the Grimwade family established the glass industry, the sulphuric acid and super phosphate industries, and later the industrial gases industry. Following various mergers, purchases, and spin-offs, the firms founded or co-founded by Frederick Sheppard Grimwade became Felton Grimwade & Bickford (manufacturers of Bosisto's Eucalyptus Oil), Drug Houses of Australia Ltd and Australian Consolidated Industries Ltd.
Andrew Grimwade's father, Frederick Sheppard Grimwade, died when Andrew was 19. Andrew Grimwade's brother, the Honourable Frederick Sheppard Grimwade, served for many years as President of the Legislative Council of Victoria.
Grimwade was trained as a chemical engineer (University of Melbourne) and as a scientist (Oxford University). His early business career was in Sydney where he was appointed to the board of Commonwealth Industrial Gases. Aged in his mid-thirties, he was the youngest director of the National Australia Bank, Chief Executive of CARBA and a director of the National Mutual Life Association. He also ran a small merchant banking company that underwrote the flotation of public companies. Since 1959, Grimwade has been Principal of the Green Valley Cattle Company, and in 1996 helped form Certified Australian Angus Beef Ltd, of which he became Deputy chairman and was involved in building it into Australia's leading branded beef program.
In 1968, Grimwade donated 26 km² (2630 hectares) of coastal land with a 27-kilometre ocean frontage on the Coorong in South Australia to the State Government for the new Coorong National Park. This represents about 5.6% of the park's total area, but over 15% of the coastline.
Grimwade has been involved as a patron and executive with many charitable organisations, including:Chairman of the Felton Bequests Committee, a foundation created in 1904 by his great-grandfather's business partner, Alfred Felton, and primarily dedicated to purchasing art work for the National Gallery of Victoria.
President (1976–1990), trustee, and life member of the National Gallery of Victoria.
Trustee of the Victorian Arts Centre.
Patron of the Miegunyah Press, an imprint of the University of Melbourne Press established by a bequest from Grimwade's great-granduncle Russell Grimwade.
Honorary Member of the Royal Society of Victoria
Fellow and Life Member of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute
Life Member of the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Founding Chairman of the Australian Arts Exhibition Corporation, which presented The Chinese Exhibition in 1976.
Grimwade's public service includes:In 1977 he was appointed a CBE for services to the Arts and the Community
In 1980 he was created a Knight Bachelor for services to Industry and Commerce
Member of the Australian Government's first trade mission to China in 1973.
Founding Member of the Australian Government Remuneration Tribunal
Inaugural Member of the Council for the Order of Australia (1975–82)
Victorian Government Board of Review into Parliamentary Salaries (1980)
Chairman of the Australian Government Committee on Official Establishments (1976–78)
Founding Chairman of the Australian Government Official Establishments Trust (1979–82).
Appointed WEHI Laureate (with Nobel Laureate Sir Macfarlane Burnet & Sir Gustav Nossal) (2007)
In the 1980s, Grimwade was an underwriter of an aviation entity that was floated as Jetcorp Australia Unit Trust. Although he was not involved in the prospectus or management of Jetcorp, in 1992 he was charged with fraud and conspiracy for his involvement in a false prospectus when Jetcorp collapsed.
At his committal it was ruled that he had no case to answer; however, the prosecution exercised its right to a trial, which then became the longest running criminal trial in Victoria's history. After a first jury had sat for seven months, Grimwade's wife died and he was granted a new trial. The second jury sat for over nine months, during which time the judge and some jurors were absent at various times for medical reasons.
The first nine months of the second trial was largely taken up with the prosecution reading a transcript of the previous trial. The trial resulted in a suspended conviction, which was subsequently quashed on appeal; the appellate judge ruling that the case had become so convoluted that it had become impossible for the jury to render a proper verdict.
Grimwade, Andrew, Involvement: The Portraits of Clifton Pugh & Mark Strizic (Melbourne, Sun Books, 1968) ISBN B0000CPM7D
Grimwade, Andrew, Great Philanthropists on Trial (Melbourne: Miegunyah Press, 2006) ISBN 978-0-522-85263-9
Grimwade, Andrew, Storied Windows – Casting Light on the Arts, Science & Life in Australia 1959–2011: An Anthology of Speeches, Poems and Reflections (Melbourne: Miegunyah Press, 2012) ISBN 9780522861471.